I was really inspired by a sports article I read in my newspaper today—all about how our quarterback, Kirk Cousins plans on using his comeback victory to share his Christian faith. Ya, in case you weren’t aware, our Minnesota Vikings got the all-time NFL record for a comeback victory. They were down 33 to 0 against the Colts at the half, but in the second half they somewhat miraculously got 39 points and held the Colts to just three points. The final score was Viking 39, Colts 36.
It turns out that the last comeback victory was led by Buffalo’s quarterback Frank Reich, against the Houston Oilers in 1993, and he is a Christian just as Kirk Cousins is! Well, the article tells how he has encouraged Cousins to use his comeback victory to share his faith just as he has been doing in the last thirty years.
I pray that Kirk will really take the opportunity to do it. God has given him a tremendous platform in the sports world. It is up to him to use it to glorify God—no pressure, ha ha.
God has given me a platform too—my painting business. Through my business I have found many opportunities to give a witness.
I’ll start with a few complaints. Aside from an aggravating health situation, the weather here in Minnesota is most unpleasant. It’s dark, cloudy, humid, cold, and dreary. I don’t mind it being cold, but I like a sunny day. God, please give me a sunny day!
Respect for Marriage Act
Is that an oxymoron? If I didn’t know what it was I would praise it. Marriage is a beautiful thing. And though I am divorced, I still believe it is good—as is all of God’s creation. But this Respect for Marriage Act is a farce. It is telling us that we have to respect the so-called marriage between people of the same gender. Well, I don’t! True marriage is only between a man and a woman. Anything else is a perversion and is dishonoring of their bodies; they are changing the truth into a lie, and are changing what is natural into that which is against nature. Consequently, they do not like to retain God in their thoughts and they have given themselves over to a reprobate mind (from Romans 1:24-28). But marriage between a man and a woman is good and honoring to God. It is what God designed from the beginning—the two shall be one flesh.
For some reason I have gotten into reading about African American history, and recently about Booker T. Washington. Wow! He was such a great man. He has done so much for his race and also for the poor whites and all people in the south after the civil war. He was a great educator. His emphasis in his college was to get his students working in a trade as well as into books. And so many from his college became great leaders and moral people, as they were trained also biblically and morally. And it was a hard task, because blacks coming out of slavery then were kept from any kind of education. Most did not know how to read or write or how to keep themselves clean or in good health. Hence when they came to school, Booker T. trained them in the art of bathing and brushing their teeth, etc., as well as how to read and write. And they were also expected to learn farming and building. All of their school buildings were built by the students. And they even made their own bricks!
Retirement is a big change for me. Sometimes I feel that I am getting lazy. I think I need to force myself to walk more and work more—even though I am retired. I do like to keep up with my customers and paint for them when they ask me for work. Lately, I have been asking myself, what is retirement? What should I be doing? How should I be winding down? I don’t want to be like some who spend all of their time in front of a TV.
I’ll start off with my overall feelings—how I feel, generally, about everything, about every little thing. I mean it seems like so many things are beginning to pile up on me and making me anxious. I suppose that’s why I think it’s time for an update. I need a vent. I need to put things in perspective, to organize, and most of all to bring things to the Lord—the One who knows it all and who cares.
I can’t find an adequate description of how things are with me. There are fears and worries and tiredness and some regrets and some health issues and just a lack of clarity about things. And then I worry about what is happening to me. Okay, I have a list I want to work through—mainly for my sake, but you can listen in if you want.
I heard the other day that, I think it was about 65% of people, don’t believe the news—TV news, newspapers, all of it. News people these days have an agenda. They aren’t true journalists. They have a plan. They write the way they want to influence people. For instance, the reason that they are writing in the papers and on TV news about the Jan. 6th subpoenas and about those who are refusing to come, it is all an effort to get people to think badly about what Donald Trump did—so that they will think twice about voting for him. Again, its all politics. Its all about stopping Trump. It’s so sick! I could say more, but I think that’s enough on news for now.
I’m reading United States of Socialism, by Dinesh D’Souza. Generally, I think it’s a good book—very informative and true. But sometimes, like the news, it gets to be too negative. I guess I have to also be reading the Word. It’s like drinking coffee. For every gulp of coffee, we should also take one or two gulps of water, especially on hot days when I am working outside. My doctor told me that.
I’m an author, so most of my writing will be on a book. And then I will transfer parts of it to my blog. I’m writing now on the Tribulation. That sounds pretty negative, but I’m actually being blessed by the writing—because I’m using the bible as my main source. I’ve gotten to the point now where most of what I write comes out good on the first try—no editing requited. But recently that’s not been true—because of a hard passage in Revelation. Anyway, I was fairly sure of this one thing I wrote. Then last night because of additional reading on it, I know now that I will have to change it. It must be changed. And when you are writing a biblical commentary on a passage, it is critical to get it right. And when you do finally get it right after the second or third try it will always be a blessing and worth the effort.
It’s always nice to take time off. But I’m getting the itch now to go back to work—at least a little. Oh, I’m a house painter if you didn’t know. I’m retired, but I’m thinking that as long as I feel good enough to work, and want to, I will. I like painting and I especially like doing it to help people. It’s something God has gifted me at and put me into. However, it seems that because of my aging, I have more worries about it—about every aspect of it: doing it right, not falling off a ladder, pleasing people, all of it. Well, I’ve come to the end now on this blog and I feel better. Thank the Lord.
This morning I’m hanging out in one of my favorite places for breakfast: Panera Bread. It’s cool in here but hot outside. It will be 100 degrees today, the hottest day yet.
I’ve been reading Killing the Killers, by Bill O’Reilly. So far in the reading it’s just been a lot of killing by terrorists. I’m waiting for the good guys to show up.
I’m taking some time off from work—my painting. I know I will have some jobs coming up soon. I always do. People will call. Actually, some have called but I said no. I like my days off too much.
I’ve been thinking some on “divine encounters.” What I mean is the encounters I would have with people as an ambassador for Christ—when I am walking in the Spirit. Thus, when he or she meets and engages with someone, since we as Christians have the Holy Spirit in us, we normally have a divine encounter with them. And so, everything we say to them is as if God is talking to them through us. We are the instrument of God bringing His message to them. This is a concept that we don’t always think about, but it is true. And we realize it most when we are walking in the Spirit—walking close to God in obedience.
I want to remind myself constantly of this idea—that I am always His ambassador and that normally every encounter I have with people is divine. I must not waste my time. I must make the most of it. If I am walking in the spirt, everything I say to people will be from His (God’s) mouth—from His heart. But if I say what is trivial and not of the Spirit, I am blocking the flow of His Spirit through me. That is a tragedy, and unfortunately, it happens too often in too many Christians. Too many of us are walking around as zombies (dead to the Spirit), and what we say is contrary to what the Spirit is trying to say in and through us. We must open our heart to Him; we must clean out our mouth and let the Spirt flow through us and out to others—so that we have those natural “divine encounters.”
Lately, I’ve been giving some thought to finishing my life well. I’ve been asking myself these questions: what will I have achieved in my life? or, Will I have done all the things that God has called me to do?
I suppose the unspiritual person would concentrate on worldly achievements, on greatness, wealth, and popularity. And even the Christian may be tempted to measure himself with these things: how much wealth have I stored up? How popular am I? or even How great I am, as far as my position in the community?
Then when I looked at a few Scriptures, I was pulled another direction. I first looked at Ecclesiastes 12:13: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” It’s hard to judge how much I have done that. I would say that it’s a daily thing—to walk in His Spirit and obey Him every day.
I also looked at Micah 6:8: “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” This is another one of those daily things and hard to judge how much I have kept up with this. It is something that I can only do when I am constantly walking in His Spirit.
Then I was led to a very familiar passage, Psalm 131:1-2:
1 Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me.
2 Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child.
It is a song of accent of David, and tells us of David’s childlike trust in the Lord. Here we can definitely see in David how we ought to conduct our lives; and if we are old, how we ought to finish our life.
For me, I ought not to give my thoughts to greatness or high achievements, even if they are regarded as spiritual, or “for the ministry.” I ought rather to quiet myself and be contented with the Lord—meditating on His word, listening to His voice, walking in His Spirit and doing His will.
Moreover, I ought not to pressure myself with how many books I should write, or blogs I should write, or with ministry goals. My focus should be to daily and hourly keep my heart right with Him and to walk humbly with Him—and then to be open to see where He leads me.
I brought my writing pad and a pen to my breakfast outing, intending to write a blog post. But as it turned out, I have no thoughts. It reminds me of my earlier days on the farm when I would sometimes sit and stare out into space; and when someone would ask me what I was thinking about I had to say… “nothing.” I had no thoughts. I wonder if that’s possible. I suppose we are always subconsciously thinking.
It’s a terrible thing for a blogger to have no thoughts! But today I feel content to just sit here and eat my food and wait for something to come to me. An inspiration. A message from God. Oh no. My food is almost gone. Panic. I know… I’ll get a piece of caramel apple pie, with whipped cream. That will prolong this “no thought” blog, or it may stimulate a thought or two.
My pie came. It’s cold. I said I wanted it hot. But I don’t want to say anything. Just like I don’t want to think anything. Am I lazy? Or am I just resting, taking a thinking break. I think the later. Oh not, I just made a thought. I decided that I am not lazy, that I am taking a thought break. That sounds logical to me.
My waiter just asked me what I was writing on. I told him and he laughed. Hey, I made somebody laugh! My day is complete.
I can’t think of anything in particular to write on that would be enough for a blog. But there are a few things I’m thinking about that, put together, would give you an update of what’s going on with me. Let me first tell you about the books I’m reading. The book I just put down a minute ago is Nikki Haley’s book, With All Due Respect. It will never be a best seller, but I enjoy reading it. I liked her before I started reading it, but now even more. She has a good character and I loved how she stood up to the people at the UN over their disrespect for Israel. I also love how she stood up to Kelly and Tillerson over their divisiveness against President Trump. It was refreshing.
Another book I’m reading is a very large book, The Presidents Fact Book, on all the Presidents and also their wives. It is very interesting and kind of fun to read. It’s a book that I might read again, because it is so loaded with valuable information—a good book of history; and we need to learn history before it is lost, because so many crazy people these days want to destroy our history.
As I refill my coffee cup, let me share my thoughts on a possible next book to write. Actually, I’m just finishing my latest two books: one entitled, After the Rapture: What Happens On Earth and in Heaven After the Rapture; and another book on my life story, which I don’t have a title for yet. I’m presently self-editing them, then I will write an intro for both of them, and then go through the publishing process.
So anyway, I’m already thinking of what my next book project will be. My most enduring thought is to do a book on a book of the bible. I don’t consider myself a biblical scholar, so it wouldn’t be a book of any great depth. My thought is that I need to be more in the word, so I thought that a writing project would help me get there. One thought would be to writing on the book of Revelation. I kind of wanted to write on the Tribulation anyway, so maybe that would be a good option.
Another idea is to delve into a book like Ephesians. I know that would be quite beneficial for me—for my spiritual life. I think I might enjoy getting into the Greek, doing word studies; and also, getting into the history of those times; and just determining what the main themes of the book are. Mostly, I would hope that the writing would bring me closer to Him, and that my thoughts would be constantly on Him and His wonderful words of grace and truth.
I find that since I am more and more retired, and that my painting jobs are fewer, I have more time now to do whatever. I pray that that whatever is well spent. Retirement time can be foolishly wasted. I pray that that won’t be true of me.
I think it’s always wise to plan the end of one’s life—to make the best of it. I’m almost 70, so I figure that I may have close to 20 years left, or at least 10. Of course, the Lord may return before then, so I’m all in favor of that. My doctor just told me that I was doing well, except that my cholesterol is high and she wants me to take something for it. I tried to talk her out of it, to just eat better, but she wouldn’t budge. She really recommended it. Since I talked to her this morning, I talked to a friend who is my age; and he has been taking cholesterol medication, and seems convinced that it’s doing him good. Well, I’m glad I talked to him, because now I feel better about going ahead and taking the medicine—I’m not sure what the name of it is; I’ll see.
I also think that I should keep eating healthy foods and exercise regularly—going for walks mostly. I am convinced that we should be good stewards of our bodies right to the end. And I think the last days of life are when it’s most necessary to eat good and exercise. Yes, I will run the whole race right to the end without stopping.
But to keep up the physical body is just one part of it. I strive to excel in all areas, especially in those areas of ministry, where I am making an influence on others. I think my greatest influence is through my writing. So, I will keep it up. And when the time comes to completely stop my painting, I plan on increasing my writing time. That is my plan anyway.
Of course, there is always the ministry of day to day contact with others, day to day communication. That is something I think we tend to forget about or underestimate. It is hard to know what influence just a few kind words may have on someone. So, I plan on keeping good communication going for as long as I live—no complaining about anything, but always doing good for others and thanking and praising God for all things.
I debated with myself as to whether I should include this section, because it might make me look bad. I know there are some bad programs, but I try to just watch the good ones. I do it to relax and for something fun to do. Here are the TV programs that I especially like:
In the morning I watch Fox news on channel 9 (in Minneapolis). It’s mainly local news and weather, but they have a little U.S. and world news too. Every once in a while, I will also flip over to MeTV and watch Leave It To Beaver. So funny. I love all those old shows.
If I’m not working and I’m home at noon, I like to watch Gunsmoke, also on MeTV. Call me old fashion, but I love it. Matt Dillion was the best lawman ever (on TV). He knew how to keep the peace and enforce the law, and he wasn’t afraid to gun down a few outlaws to do it. Somehow, I wish we could go back to those days to take care of all the rioters we are having now. Put them all in jail until they cool off. And if they resist, shoot them! Well maybe that is a little extreme, but keeping the law is important. It’s so sad that our country, and the world, is becoming more and more lawless.
In the evening I like to watch TheAndy Griffith Show—and Barny and Opie and Aunt B. Andy is another great Sheriff. Later on, I may watch Perry Mason. I can never figure out who the killer is, but I like watching Perry do his stuff.
Saturday morning is the best time to watch cooking shows and also woodworking shows. I love shows like that. Then Saturday evening I try to watch Tour of Duty, which is the best Vietnam war depiction I have ever seen; I know because I was there.
Sunday evening at 6 pm I will usually watch This Old House. That is my best show of all, even though there are so many re-runs. Those guys, all of them, are absolute experts at their craft. I admire them so much.
I’m a movie watcher too, but I need to see some new ones. Here are a few that I really like, that I have watched over and over:
Finding Forrester. This is a great story about the friendship between a16-year-old boy and an old, brilliant recluse (played by Sean Connery). A great story. I never get tired of watching it.
Red October. This is another Sean Connery movie. A great one.
You Got Mail. This may not be a classic, but I like it. I think it was very well written, staring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. It has some great scenes that makes me laugh every time I see them.
Sea Biscuit. This is the best horse movie ever. I love the setting of the movie, at the time of the old Model-T cars. And the actors are so good.
I have included my walks in this section because it is also what I do for pleasure and to relax. Walking makes me feel good and I also feel good about taking photos along the way. I’m not necessarily a perfectionist as far as taking a good photo. I am more interested in trying to find beautiful scenes and all things in nature. And then, I do my best to capture them as they are. I think there is a skill in seeing what is out there. I know I miss so much, but sometimes if I look at something long enough, I will see it—something very beautiful: a tree, a cloud, a flower, or a combination of things that beautifully capture the glory of God.